Mark Cavagnero Associates designed the Bowes Center, the new campus for the students of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music
In the heart of the Civic Center, San Francisco’s performing arts district, Mark Cavagnero Associates designed the Bowes Center, the campus for the students of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The conservatory’s expansion project entailed the construction of a multifunctional building incorporating teacher and student housing, classrooms, rehearsal rooms, performance spaces, restaurants and a radio station. Although aimed at Conservatory students, the building is also open to the public as the floor-to-ceiling windows on the ground floor allow curious passersby to see performances or music practice.
Bowes Center: a music campus open to the world
The Bowes Center was named after the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation, which funded the works with a $46.4M donation.
The building stands just a short walk from the Conservatory and was created as an innovative, multifunctional space for students as well as a meeting point for music lovers. Throughout the year, in fact, the campus organizes numerous performances open to the public, almost always with free admission.
Music, innovation, technology
In the 12 floors of the Bowes Center, every space is well insulated by high-performance walls and glass. The structure’s façade is composed of double-glazed walls that, combined with a floating structural slab, isolate noise and vibration transmission from the outside.
On the second floor of the Bowes Center is the Center for New Media, a space dedicated to students participating in the Conservatory’s Technology and Applied Composition Program. The program prepares young classically trained composers to score films and video games. The campus is also used by students in the Roots, Jazz and American Music Program, who have classrooms, a black-box Technology Hall and a recording studio at their disposal.
Accommodation & more
Floors three through 11 of the Bowes Center hold one, two, and three-bedroom housing units, each acoustically isolated so that students can practice in their own room without disturbing their neighbor. One floor is dedicated to housing for San Francisco Ballet Students. partnership with the nearby SF Ballet. The upper floor accommodates visiting faculty and guest performers. Moreover, on the top floor is the Barbro Osher Recital Hall, a 200-seat event hall, while the rooftop has a terrace offering panoramic views of Davies Symphony Hall, War Memorial Opera House, and other memorable city landmarks.
Photo: Tim Griffith